By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
KONKOLA Copper Mine PLC ( in liquidation) has sued Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) seeking an order to set aside the consent order executed by the two parties dated September 1, 2021 granting the latter leave to commence arbitral proceedings against the Mine.
KCM seeks the Lusaka High Court’s declaration that the consent order executed between it and CEC under cause no.2021/HPC/0320 and signed by Justice Etambuyu Mwenda-Zimba on September 1, 2021, was executed under a fundamental and honest but mistaken belief on the part of the plaintiff (KCM).
According to a statement of claim filed in the High Court commercial registry, KCM stated that the two parties entered into a two Power Supply Agreement (PSA) on March 31, 2000, for supply of electricity by CEC to the mine.
It stated, that in due course CEC commenced proceedings under cause no.2021 /HPC/ 0320 asking for permission of the court to begin arbitral proceedings against KCM, of which it was granted on September 1, 2021.
“To the plaintiff’s surprise and shock, the defendant herein proceeded to issue out a Notice of Arbitration against the plaintiff claiming substantially the same relief it is claiming by way of counterclaim under cause no.2020/HP/ 0563, being that the plaintiff owed the defendant a sum of US#139,798,529 plus interest for the supply of power between the period May 2019 up to May, 2020,” KCM stated.
KCM has alleged that CEC went further to write to the London Court of International Arbitration on January 18, 2022 requesting it to appoint an arbitrator to preside over the pending arbitration.
It stated that hearing of CEC’s counterclaim under cause no. 2020/HP/0563 is set for February, 2022 before Judge Catherine Lombe-Phiri.
The plaintiff contended that it was procedurally improper for CEC to institute arbitral proceedings over substantially the same claims and against the same defendant.
It stated that it endorsed its signature to the consent order under the mistaken impression that CEC would either stay or discontinue its claims in cause no.2020/HP/0563.
KCM has accused the defendant of multiplicity of actions and forum shopping by instituting arbitration proceedings and subsisting counterclaim under cause 2020/HP/0563.